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Tonga's human rights record reviewed by Human Rights Council

Tonga has its human rights record reviewed by the Human Rights Council

The international community has, through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council, identified a number of human rights issues that the people of Tonga continue to face. Last Monday (21 January), Tonga was the first Pacific Island State to be examined for the second time for its human rights record. In the UPR, Pacific Island States have a great opportunity to discuss their human rights situation, including challenges and opportunities with the international community.

The UPR process highlights positive developments but also raises further concerns. The continued democratization process, anti-corruption measures, and policies and campaigns to prevent domestic violence were noted positive achievements. Recommendations for Tonga put forward by other countries included: to make continued efforts to ratify Human Rights Treaties and Conventions (including CEDAW and CAT); to enhance efforts to combat violence against women and adopt specific legislation on domestic violence; to prioritise gender equality initiatives particularly in relation to property, family and employment; to intensify efforts to increase women’s participation at formal decision-making levels; and to consider establishing a National Human Rights Institution etc.

OHCHR’s Regional Office for the Pacific welcomes Tonga’s engagement with the UPR and looks forward to Tonga now also living up to its commitments. The Office is ready to continue supporting Tonga in its efforts to further implement the recommendations and to strengthen its human rights framework.

The UPR is one of the key elements of the Human Rights Council, which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

The UPR recommendations, the Interactive discussion, issues and questions raised and other highlights can be found on OHCHR’s main web page: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

• OHCHR leads global human rights efforts and works to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
• OHCHR is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, who co-ordinates human rights activities throughout the UN System and works closely with the Human Rights Council.
• OHCHR Regional Pacific office covers 16 countries: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

For more information on OHCHR Regional Pacific visit http://pacific.ohchr.org/

ENDS

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